The Southern Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has condemned the apparent poisoning of white-tailed sea eagles in Mayo and Donegal.
The young Mayo eagle, which had been released in Killarney National Park in 2010, was found dead on the shores of Lough Beltra after a tag showed it was not moving.
Post mortem results showed it had high concentrations of poison in its body but it had also been shot in the past and had shotgun pellets in its body. Post mortem results from another eagle, found dead in the Blue Stack mountains in Donegal, showed it too had been poisoned.
The Minister said he was very disappointed that some unknown individuals “would wantonly try to kill these magnificent birds”.
Meanwhile there is bitter disappointment in Co Clare after it emerged that efforts to breed white-tailed sea eagles near Mountshannon have failed this year.
It was announced late last mont that a young pair of the rare raptors had bred and chosen an island on Lough Derg as their nesting site, the first time this had occured in over 100 years.
Speaking on Clare Fm this morning however, Reintroduction Project Manager with the Golden Eagle Trust Dr. Alan Mee said it appears that the birds have abandoned the nest, and that the attempt has failed, close to the point of hatching.
There is also concern for two more nesting eagles which have not bee seen since 2011.
The co-ordinator of the Golden Eagle Project in Ireland says he fears a pair of nesting eagles which have disappeared from Co Donegal may have been poisoned.
Lorcan O’Toole revealed the birds had been nesting in the western Bluestack Mountains since 2005 but have not been seen since 2011.
“It is quite possible that they were poisoned because we have had no sightings of them since last year.
“They did not nest there last year and it would be unusual for them not to return to the same place to nest,” he said.
Mr O’Toole made his comments following the poisoning of two white tailed sea eagles in counties Mayo and Donegal.
He added that a small minority of people were now putting the project to reintroduce various birds of prey back into Ireland in jeopardy.
He revealed how out of ten white tailed sea eagles which had been fitted with satellite tags, five had now been found poisoned.
He said it was fair to assume that many more such birds which had not been fitted with tracking devices may have perished.
“We were able to pin-point the exact location of these sea eagles because the satellite tags are so sophisticated.
“But less sophisticated equipment such as radio tags may not lead us to birds which may have been killed.
“I have no doubt that other birds which we do not know about have been poisoned,” he said.
Mr O’Toole stressed that his group had a very good relationship with the vast majority of the farming community across Ireland.
“It is only a very small minority of people who are putting this project at risk by poisoning these birds,” he said.